Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Lent’

What makes a Catholic school any different from a public school?  For myself, all I know is working in a Catholic school so I do not have the experience to compare the two.  Over the years, I have had conversations with people who have had experiences in both systems and have told me that the biggest difference is the atmosphere you feel when you walk into a Catholic School.  Pope Francis in The Joy of the Gospel (114) says that the Church “must be a place of mercy, freely given, where everyone can feel welcomed, loved, forgiven and encouraged to live the good life of the Gospel.” The school, as an extension of the Church, so too must be this. Archbishop J. Michael Miller presented and identified Five Marks that make a school Catholic. They are as follows:

  1. Grounded in Christian Anthropology – Driven by a mission which views all men and women with an inherent dignity as sons and daughters of God.
  2. Imbued with a Catholic World View – A Catholic vision is evident in its physical space, liturgical celebrations and prayer life.
  3. Animated by a Faith Infused Curriculum – Faith is integrated within the learner outcomes and teaching strategies.
  4. Sustained by Gospel Witness – Hires and nurtures staff that are living witnesses to the Gospel and are intentional disciples of Jesus Christ.
  5. Shaped by a Spirituality of Communion – Recognizes that all stakeholders are responsible for the common good.

As we are approaching the Lenten season Mark 2 will be at the forefront of our activities.  We will gather for our weekly liturgical celebrations which will focus on the three pillars of Lent: fasting, prayer and almsgiving.  While it is good to give up things during Lent it is also a time to Share our Bounty and be generous. As a result, we will be taking part in the 40 Acts School Challenge. It is a Lenten generosity challenge organized by the UK charity group Stewardship. There is a reflection every day and the students will also complete challenges to make a difference and be generous in the following categories: gratitude, care for the environment, giving, school community, kindness, new friends and doing the right thing.  Students will be given a challenge card summary where they will track which Acts they have done over the 40 days of Lent.

I would recommend this as an individual challenge as I myself have grown spiritually the past two years while completing the challenges and am excited for us to be doing it as a school community. As an individual, you receive an email every morning with a reflection and three different prompts as to how you could choose to act because 40 Acts believes that generosity is about the size of your heart not your wallet. If you are interested in learning more or signing up for the 40 Acts Challenge you can find them on the Web, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. You may even want to sign up as a family as they have a 40Acts Family Wallchart and guide.  40 Acts. 40 Days. 40 Ways to Share your Bounty.  Join us in the challenge!

Read Full Post »

It seems that we just finished the Christmas season and it is hard to believe that we are now approaching the Lenten season. Throughout the forty days of Lent we are mimicking Jesus’ journey through the desert and are focusing on the three pillars of fasting, prayer and almsgiving.  Most of us sacrifice and give something up as a form of fasting which allows us to grow spiritually through discipline. Years ago I had a conversation with Terry Wilson regarding Lent where he talked about how he would do extra things for others. Doing charitable acts and paying attention to the needs of others falls under the pillar of almsgiving.  Last year Mrs. Hoveling introduced me to 40 Acts organized by the Stewardship group from the UK.  Each day during Lent I received an email that had a reflection on a specific word and then there were three choices of action you could take that related to the reflection. I really enjoyed the challenge and learned about myself and grew spiritually from the experience.  I am all signed up and excited to see what the new challenges will bring. If you are interested in learning more or signing up for the 40 Acts Challenge you can find them on the Web, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. You can do the challenge as an individual or a group so it might be a nice family activity to try.

40 Acts

Thank you to Parent Council for organizing our Shrove Tuesday pancake meal on the 13th and to all the parents who have volunteered to help make this day a success.  We will start the Lenten season by celebrating Ash Wednesday on the 14th at St. Martha’s Church.   Each week we will come together as a community to pray and celebrate during the Lenten season. All our celebrations are marked on the FLVT Events Calendar on the website and are on the calendar pages in the newsletter. I invite you all to come pray and celebrate with us.

February is also survey season and parents may already have received information on completing the Alberta Education Accountability Pillar Survey. Students in grades 4 and 7 and all teachers will also be completing their surveys online at school.  All surveys are anonymous and ask questions about experiences with the school.  In addition to English and French, the parent survey is available in Chinese, Punjabi, Arabic, Blackfoot, Cree, Korean, Spanish and Tagalog.  Your participation in the survey provides important information on the quality of education your child is receiving, so we encourage you to complete your survey promptly.

If you want to find out more information and get more involved in your child’s education, come out to our Parent Council Meeting on February 6th at 7:00. Our Superintendent Chris Smeaton and Director of Religious Education, Joann Bartley, will be at the meeting to discuss Bill 24. I encourage you to come out and become informed on the impact the bill. The meetings generally last an hour and I look forward to seeing you there.

Read Full Post »

A Lenten Wave of Kindness

To be beacons of light, love, and happiness during Lent we focus on the three pillars of Almsgiving, Fasting, and Prayer. Our Lenten project this year will focus on almsgiving for Streets Alive Mission. We will be focusing on bringing in different food items throughout the course of Lent, such as, canned fruit, vegetables, or soup. The second pillar, fasting is a topic we discuss in class and practice in our canteen on Fridays. Kayla does not sell items containing meat on Fridays. Friday items range from egg or tuna salad to cheese pizza, and as always, smoothies are available.

We started our prayer journey by going to Mass at St. Martha’s Church on Ash Wednesday. We will gather weekly as a community to pray and reflect on our theme “Rooted in Christ”. Please come join us in prayer each week. Every morning, to start our day, we pray together as a community. We also pray together every morning as a staff and this year we are using the resource Jesus Daily: 365 Interactive Devotions by Aaron Tabor.

Our Van Tighem Virtue focus for Lent is Kindness. The focus is to treat people with dignity and to respect all rights and property. We have made a Lenten calendar which contains acts of kindness that staff, students, and families can do each day. Jesus did not perform random acts of kindness but treated everyone with dignity and respect. As a result, we are trying to focus on intentional acts of kindness as opposed to random as we want to teach students that kindness is integral to how we should treat one another by following Jesus’ example. Research is showing that kindness has a positive effect on not only the giver, but also on the receiver. The Dalai Lama says that “when we feel love and kindness towards others, it not only makes others feel loved and cared for, but it helps us also to develop inner happiness and peace.” We are hoping to start a wave of kindness through our Lenten calendar. Our wave will branch outside of our school community when staff will be performing acts of kindness around the city on our professional development day on Friday March 24. Join us in spreading happiness and love around our community.

pope-francis-kindness-1

Read Full Post »

February is known as the month of love and friendship. Jesus gave us the model to follow when he said, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” (John 15:12). This piece of Scripture is the grounding root of our new code of conduct that we are developing throughout this year. This month we are continuing to focus on our Wise Virtue.  Wise is tied to the Catholic human virtue of Justice and we described it as the following: I speak up for myself and others even when it may not be popular.  As a school community we all have rights and responsibilities to God, ourselves, the community, and other members of the community. To be just we must respect the rights of others and act in a manner that promotes positive relationships in our community.  The School Act says that students shall contribute positively to the school and community and behave in a manner that is welcoming, caring, and respectful. As students grow they experience difficulties following Jesus’ commandment to love one another. To help teach about positive relationships and deal with conflicts that occur, each class holds a weekly classroom meeting. Working through conflicts teaches necessary skills and allows students to make things right and restore relationships. We are continually striving to improve which is evident from our Tell Them From Me Secondary Survey results where 80% of students in grades 7-9 feel safe at school while the Canadian norm for these grades is 64%. I look forward to sharing with you next month the Wise behaviour expectations students have come up with.

love-one-another

The end of February marks the start of Lent. Thank you to Parent Council for organizing our Shrove Tuesday pancake meal on the 28th and to all the parents who have volunteered to help make this day a success.  We will start the Lenten season by celebrating Ash Wednesday on March 1st at St. Martha’s Church.   Each week we will come together as a community to pray and celebrate during the Lenten season. Please feel free to attend and celebrate with us. As Lent is a time of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving the canteen will not be serving meat on Friday.

Parents of students in grades 4 and 7 may already have received information on completing the Alberta Education Accountability Pillar Survey. Students in grades 4 and 7 and all teachers will also be completing their surveys online at school.  All surveys are anonymous and ask questions about experiences with the school.  In addition to English and French, the parent survey is available in Chinese, Punjabi, Arabic, Blackfoot, Cree, Korean, Spanish and Tagalog.  Your participation in the survey provides important information on the quality of education your child is receiving, so we encourage you to complete your survey promptly.  If you want to find out more information and get more involved in your child’s education, come out to our Parent Council Meeting on February 8th at 7:00. The meetings generally last an hour and I look forward to seeing you there.

Read Full Post »

Lent: A Time of Gratitude

To be beacons of light during Lent we focus on the three pillars of Almsgiving, Fasting, and Prayer. Our Lenten project this year will focus on almsgiving for Cancer Research. Our Me to We Club will be holding a fundraising activity and all the proceeds will go towards our Lenten project. The second pillar, fasting is a topic we discuss in class and practice in our canteen on Fridays. Kayla does not sell items containing meat on Fridays and comes up with “meatless” Friday specials. Friday items range from egg or tuna salad to cheese pizza, and as always, smoothies are available.
We started our prayer journey by going to Mass at St. Martha’s Church on Ash Wednesday. We will gather weekly as a community to pray and reflect on our theme “A Horizon of Hope”. Please come join us in celebrating each week as the schedule is on the calendar. Every morning we pray together as a community. As a staff, we also pray every morning with reflections of Gratitude The Power of Being Thankful by Joyce Meyer. Being thankful for our lives and the ways that God has blessed us, gives us a new perspective and fills us with joy. Practicing gratitude can also improve health and reduce stress. Even a simple smile and hello to start the day can make a difference in someone’s life. There are five weeks left of Lent and here are five ways you can focus on gratitude:
  • As you are eating supper together, go around and express what you are grateful for that day. We did this as a family last year during Lent and it is a practice that we still continue to this day. It is a great family activity.
  • Give your colleagues or classmates genuine compliments. Better yet, compliment a stranger!
  • Wait a few extra seconds and hold the door for the person behind you.
  • Get in touch with an old friend or a relative and let them know how grateful you are to have them in your life.
  • Do something nice for the person behind you in line – buy a coffee, pay for the order, or strike up a conversation

Gratitud and gods blessings


Read Full Post »

February: Shortest but Busiest Month

For a short month February is jam packed with activities. Rehearsals for our spring production Get a Clue are going Monday to Wednesdays for singers, Thursdays for dancers, and Fridays for actors. Students are working hard and I’m looking forward to seeing the results on May 3-5 when our production airs. Our very first production GOOD involved 45 cast and crew members and now we have 70 cast and crew working on Get a Clue. It’s exciting to see how our production has grown to be triple casted for the first time and will feature choirs from the Westside Catholic schools: St. Pat’s, St. Martha’s and Van Tighem’s.

During the second week, we finish up our junior basketball season while our seniors will finish up after the break. While our junior high teams finish up, our grade 6 program starts. Good luck to all our teams and thank you to all our coaches for the many volunteer hours they have put into our students.

Thank you also to Lyndsey G for organizing our Shrove Tuesday pancake meal on the 9th and to all the parents who have volunteered to help make this day a success. We will start the Lenten season by celebrating Ash Wednesday on the 10th at St. Martha’s Church. Each week we will come together as a community to pray and celebrate during the Lenten season. Please feel free to attend and celebrate with us. As Lent is a time of prayer, fasting, almsgiving the canteen will not be serving meat on Friday.

After the Family Day week, our Grade Nine students will be attending CCH on the 24th for an orientation to Grade Ten. Throughout the month students are busy with after school skating, elementary book club, junior high book club, scrapbooking and beading. I’m sure there will be other activities coming up as our Leadership class organizes other activities for our students.

Parents of students in grades 4 and 7 may already have received information on completing the Alberta Education Accountability Pillar Survey. Students in grades 4 and 7 and all teachers will also be completing their surveys online at school. All surveys are anonymous and ask questions about experiences with the school. In addition to English and French, the parent survey is available in Chinese, Punjabi, Arabic, Blackfoot, Cree, Korean, Spanish and Tagalog. Your participation in the survey provides important information on the quality of education your child is receiving, so we encourage you to complete your survey promptly. If you want to find out more information and get more involved in your child’s education, come out to our School Council Meeting on the 10th at 7:00.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: